Cisco has been given clearance to proceed with it’s acquisition of Tandberg by antitrust regulators in both the EU and US. It is now expected that the process of joining the 2 businesses will be completed in the next few weeks.
The European Commission’s decision takes into account Cisco’s commitments to enhancing interoperability between its multi-screen video conferencing products and competitive products. In addition, as a condition to receiving this approval, Cisco is required to appoint an independent monitor, who must be approved by the Commission, to oversee the implementation of these commitments.
Cisco’s commitments to the European Commission include divesting ownership of its TelePresence Interoperability Protocol (TIP) and the library of open source software useful to implementers of TIP to an independent industry body. Cisco will also provide the industry body with all other rights necessary to implement TIP and authorize the industry body to license those rights to any interested party, royalty-free. The independent industry body will evolve TIP with the benefit of participation by others in the industry. Cisco will also make available royalty-free information about Cisco’s own implementation of the protocol that will facilitate efforts to interoperate with Cisco multi-screen TelePresence systems. Consistent with its long-term support of interoperability and open standards, Cisco has committed to implement the actions above within a short period of time.
The acquisition of Tandberg by Cisco comes at a time when talks between Polycom, the largest maker of video-conferencing equipment, and Apax Partners, a London based private equity firm, were called off. This prompted Gores Group, another private equity firm based in LA and which owns 51% of Siemens Enterprise Corporation (SEC), to renew its’ interest in a merger between Polycom and SEC rather than the strategic alliance which was formed between the two last October.
Tandberg and Polycom between them are responsible for about 70% of sales of equipment in the unified communications market.
For more information about either the Polycom or Tandberg range of telepresence systems contact Mark Weston AuDeo.